Island, central West Indies. The second-largest West Indian island, it lies east of Cuba. It is divided into Haiti to the west and the Dominican Republic to the east. The island is some 400 mi (650 km) long and 150 mi (241 km) wide at its widest point. Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492. The Spanish wiped out the natives and settled the island with African slaves. In 1795 Spain ceded the eastern two-thirds of the island to France. The slaves rebelled in the late 18th century; led by Toussaint-Louverture and J.-J. Dessalines, they formed the independent Republic of Haiti (1804) on the western part of the island. The eastern part was briefly reunited with Spain; its road to eventual independence as the Dominican Republic (1844) was initially blocked by Haitian dominance.